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Anthropology Discussion: Thursdays 6:45-7:35

Homework Assignment 1 An activity that I partake in frequently is drawing. I dont draw every single day, but sometimes after I am done with my homework I will draw for a couple of hours. I got into drawing after I took a class in school. I realized that I wasnt that bad at it, and so I bought my first sketchbook. The material culture that would be found if I suddenly walked away in the middle of drawing would include the drawing that I was last working on, which is a drawing of a cat that has just awoken from a nap. It is stretched out along the side of a couch. At my desk there are piles of drawings that I have worked on over the past couple of months. There is also a box of my Prismacolor lead pencils, along with special pens, and erasers that I use. One of the artifacts that would have significance to members of my culture, but not someone like a future archaeologist would be one of the drawings in my sketchbook of a Nikon D7000 DSLR camera that I drew a couple of weeks ago. Cameras are well known in society today. Even though this camera is of large size and common everyday cameras people use are getting smaller and more compact. Someone that lives in my culture would have a clear understanding as to what it is. Due to the nature of technology and how it is rapidly changing, an archeologist from the future may have no clue as to what is it. It depends on what time period the archeologist is from, but if its thousands of years ahead, they may have no idea as to what it was. There could be data about it in history books of course, but one day, there is a potential that large photography cameras could become a thing of the past, leaving not a single trace behind. To us it is a tool to capture high quality photos, but to the archeologist, it may be a completely unknown device because in their society they have developed a far more developed method of taking photos. The layout is usually my sketchbook right on my desk, folded back to the current drawing I am working on. On the right side of my desk I will have all of my drawing tools in a small pouch. Artwork that I think came out really well is displayed in the space right above where I draw on my desk, there are

shelves, and the walls on the shelves are where I put my drawings that came out really well. Cleaning up I usually just put of them on one of the shelves, the shame shelves that display the artwork. If archeologists where to discover my materials they would correctly assume that it has been after I have cleaned up. Based on the placement, they would assume that the shelf is not where the actual drawing is done, but rather the sketchpad is laid on the surface of the desk. The reason for this is because the shelf is too small, and it would be an uncomfortable position to draw. The display of drawings on the wall of the shelf could also suggest that this is the place where the drawings are put after they are completed. They might also infer that because the utensils are in a pouch, I must have cleaned up after myself and put my utensils away in their proper place. Because the materials are placed right next to the display of artwork, the archaeologist might assume and get it right that I use those specific tools to draw. The placement of the sketchpad right on the same shelf as the display of drawings would lead them to assume that the drawings that are displayed were drawn by me, and they came right out of the sketchbook. What they might misinterpret is they could think that the drawings I put up, or the order I put them up in against the wall could be very specific. I really put up my drawings up randomly. After I finish drawing, if I like a particular drawing I will tear it out. They might try to make sense of the particular drawings I have decided to display in terms of what the drawings are, but it really is in random order. The archeologist might also infer that the order I put them up is the order of which they were drawn, which is also not true. Since I also have school books right below on the next shelf they might think that I drew the drawings as part of an assignment for school, which I did not. Since the environment is currently Amherst MA in my dorm room, the preservation would most likely fall under the poor category because of the location. In MA as the chart indicates, the only types of artifacts that preserve well are stone and ceramics. Since the paper from my sketchbook doesnt fall under that category, it probably wouldnt fall under the category of being preserved well because it is not carbonized paper. If it were carbon paper it would last much longer than regular sketchpad paper. I believe that in a thousand years from now, it will be all gone, no more of it would be left because it doesnt fall under the carbonized organics or organics with acid neutralizers. It depends as to what conditions it would be subjected to. If the desk

would no longer be there, or the roof of the dorm room, then that would make an even greater probability that it would not be there. The drawings might all be destroyed, and the tools might still be found since they are all organic. They are not carbonized, yet they would most likely preserve better than the paper would. The poor preservation would highly impact the interpretations of the archeologist. If the drawings are not preserved after thousands of years, or they are only partly preserved, it would make it very difficult for the archaeologist to interpret what was occurring at the site. They would probably discover the organic drawing utensils and look for some sort of drawings, or writings that would go along with them. After looking around for more artifacts and coming to the conclusion that they cant find any drawings or writings, the archeologist would have to further probe into gathering information from these tools. The first thing the archeologist would discover is my lead drawing pencil. Depending on how well it is preserved they could see the name of its brand, and potentially look up information on it. If the brand is not visible they could use the pencil, to see what kind of marks it makes, and try to compare it to pencils at that time in the future. Perhaps the pencils that are used in art then are slightly similar or at least created by some of the same materials. The difficulty of determining what activity I was participating in would be much more difficult without the actual drawings because the drawings are the biggest clue to the activity. The tools are the second biggest clue, and depending on what kind of artistic tools they use in the future, it may or not be a dead giveaway as to what kind of an activity that the tools are a part of. The eraser indicates to them that it has to be an activity that involves erasing mistakes, and must involve some sort of design aspect because the pencil is not a normal everyday graphite pencil, it is specific to creating drawings. Overall, the archeologist would have some pretty good clues as to what activities I was participating in, especially if they were to conduct some other research about the past writing tools that were used in society, and how those have evolved over the generations.

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